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Friday, July 26, 2013

Thousands rally in dueling protests in Egypt

Supporters and opponents of Egypt’s deposed president Mohammed Morsi began massive protests. One was called for by the army chief suggesting people give the military a ”mandate” to stop “violence and terrorism.” The pro-Morsi crowd, mostly linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, rallies against his overthrow. Confrontation is likely after a month of clashes in which close to 200 people have died.

Earlier on Morsi was detained on allegations of him spying for Hamas. The investigation on him also relates to prison breaks during former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule. UN leader Ban Ki-moon called on the military to release Morsi “or have their cases reviewed transparently without delay”, his spokesman said.

Putin defends Snowden case will not hurt U.S. ties

Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t want the spat over dataleaker Edward Snowden to hurt ties with the United States. His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, says Putin expressed “strong determination” to maintain good relations with the Americans “no matter how the situation develops.” Snowden, a former U.S. spy agency contractor, is wanted on espionage charges. He has lived in a Moscow airport for more than a month and can’t leave since his passport was revoked.

Russia has refused to hand Snowden over to the United States, and is considering a temporary asylum request made by him. Peskov said Russia “did not hand over, does not hand over and will not hand over anybody.” Later on, in an attempt to lure the Russian authorities to change their mind, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said his government won’t seek the death penalty for Snowden.

U.S consumer sentiment rises to highest level in six years

Sentiment rose in July to the highest level in six years, although Americans expect a slower rate of growth in the year ahead, a survey showed. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final reading climbed to 85.1 from 84.1 in June, above expectations for 84. That is the best level for the index since July 2007 and was also an improvement from July’s initial reading of 83.9.

Despite that improvement, consumers foresee U.S. interest rates will rise and that prospects for the economy are not that great. Lower income households were more optimistic than higher income earners, the poll showed. Increasing expectations on the interest rates have stimulated consumers to buy more.

UK public says £9bn Olympics worth it

One year after the beginning of the London Olympic Games, more than two-thirds of the UK public believe the £8.77bn cost of the event was worth the money, according to a ComRes poll for the BBC. The figures also show 74% would also welcome the Games back to Britain and that 24% of the British population aged 18 to 24 is now exercising more, comparing to 11% more than a year ago. The original Olympic and Paralympic budget was of £2.4bn.

The figures are supported by government research suggesting the UK economy received a £9.9bn boost in trade and investment because of the Games. The survey heard 3,218 adults. Those polled also said: 11% are more active as a result of the Games; 32% believe London 2012 had a positive impact on sports facilities; 22% say the Olympics improved their local economy; and 21% assert the event had resulted in improved public services.

Protest after Pope Francis’ visit to Rio slum centers on missing man

Hours after Pope Francis spoke in the Varginha slum, protesters gathered outside the governor’s home to know what police had done with a resident from another slum. ”Where’s Amarildo?” has become a rallying cry since the 42-year-old construction worker disappeared. His neighbors say police took him away from the Rocinha favela on July 14. Some reckon he could be Brazil’s Trayvon Martin. The pontiff hasn’t mentioned the case in his public addresses so far. His trip to Brazil ends on Sunday.

The wave of demonstrations that spread across the country during the Confederations Cup was set off by police crackdown. Governor Sergio Cabral’s beachfront home is now surrounded by police officers and a huge tank. He is in charge of Rio’s police, and the small group of protesters also wants him to account for money spent on preparations for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

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